Numbers can be a tricky thing. Any scientist who has taken measurements knows that the results are only as accurate as the measuring device. This is also true with Web statistics.
According to the tool AAPG previously relied upon to measure Web stats, we logged 7,601,510 page views in the past year, representing 1,086,203 visits to aapg.org. This is an overall upswing from 2007 of about 18 percent, where 6,287,941 “views” were logged using the same tool. There was a 2 percent increase in “visits,” totaling 1,070,510.
However, these statistics include such non-human visitors as site indexing robots, and they failed to take into account users connecting from different IP addresses, such as those traveling with laptops.
(A person traveling on business connecting in five different cities would be counted as five separate visitors, rather than one.)
In 2008, AAPG began using Google Analytics to track Web site statistics. Google Analytics uses a tag-based tracking system that only counts actual visitors to the Web site. It remembers those visitors via browser “cookies,” so even if they have different IP addresses for different visits, they are only counted as one visitor.
This has brought our Web statistics into a more accurate perspective, and it also has allowed some greater insight into the browsing habits of visitors to aapg.org.
According to information from Google Analytics, we have actually logged 2,085,686 page views in the past year. There were 776,055 visitors, of which 397,957 were unique, or from people whose computers have never logged a visit to aapg.org before.
If we average those numbers, it says that each visitor clicked on two or three pages.
Using the in-depth statistics now available through Google Analytics, we have found the most popular subsection of the AAPG Web site is the EXPLORER. Its 503,064 page views represent nearly one-quarter of the total pages viewed.
Sifting down to the more minute details, the most popular online issue of the EXPLORER was March 2008, which had four times the page views as the next most popular issue. This was due in large part to the most read online story, the feature on the Appalachian Basin’s Marcellus Shale.
The Marcellus Shale story’s popularity is in large part thanks to aapg.org’s top referring site: Google.
More visitors came to the AAPG Web site from Google searches than from any other source – including just typing the Web address in the browser or clicking a bookmark.
Over 4,500 visits were referred from someone searching for the words “marcellus shale.” This was the third most popular total search referral to the AAPG Web site, after “aapg” and “aapg.org.”
Aside from the Marcellus, as well as the Bakken, Barnett, Haynesville and Woodford shales, another popular story on the AAPG Web Site that was often searched was the AAPG EXPLORER Salary Survey. It received over 23,000 page views.
The next most popular feature of AAPG’s Web site encompassed the meetings sub-sites, including annual, international, Hedbergs and all other meeting information hosted on aapg.org. These sites received 319,327 page views, over one-third of which came via the San Antonio 2008 Web site.
In fact, the San Antonio annual meeting drove the AAPG Web site’s highest traffic volume days of the year, which occurred in the days directly before the meeting began on April 20. Between April 16-18, approximately half of aapg.org’s 14,470 page views were from the San Antonio Web site.
This highlights the importance of the AAPG Web site as a source of information for annual meeting attendees. As last-minute registrations were submitted, travel plans were made and presentations finalized, visitors turned to the AAPG Web site to keep informed.
The AAPG Web site has received visits from over 214 countries and territories over the past year. Every continent where AAPG has members is represented.
Over half the visitors to the Web site came from the United States. Houston has the honor of sending the most visitors, with Calgary, Canada, in second place.
The highest number of international visitors came from Canada, followed by the United Kingdom.
Web statistics do a lot more for us than simply give a number of “hits:”
All of this information helps to design a better Web experience for AAPG members and visitors to our site.